TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Tuesday joined other major countries supporting Christine Lagarde's bid for a second term as the International Monetary Fund's managing director.
The former French finance minister who trained as a lawyer has no obvious challengers and has long been open to serving another five-year term.
"Managing Director Lagarde has demonstrated an excellent leadership while world economy faces various problems. We highly appreciate the fact that she has led the IMF, therefore we will support her reelection," Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Lagarde launched her campaign to stay on last week. Her first term ends on July 4 and the IMF has said it wants to wrap up the selection process by March 3.
Japan - the second largest shareholder in the Funds after the United States - followed a host of other major countries including Britain, France Germany, China and some other emerging economies, in offering endorsements for Lagarde.
She also won unofficial endorsement from the United States, which holds a blocking minority of votes on the IMF's board.
Japan hoped the IMF would play a further role in stabilising global financial markets under Lagarde's presidency for the second term, Aso added.
Turning to monetary policy, Aso said he hoped the Bank of Japan would continue with efforts to achieve its 2 percent inflation target but added that specific policy steps were up to the central bank to decide.
"The BOJ has said it would not hesitate (to adjust policy) if necessary so we believe it is adhering to that stance," Aso replied when asked about speculation over an imminent monetary easing.
The BOJ holds its next policy review on Jan. 28-29.
Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Simon Cameron-Moore